A Feminist Approach to Women’s Economic Empowerment

by Oxfam Canada | January 14, 2019
Background media: Woman smiling at the camera, holding a pole/stick on her shoulder
Aurelie Marrier d'Unienville / Oxfam

A Feminist Approach to Women’s Economic Empowerment

by Oxfam Canada | January 14, 2019
Valerie Mukangerero (53 yrs) walks to her pinapple farm in Rwamurema village, Eastern Rwanda, Kirehe District. 
Women helping women survive and thrive

Women’s Economic Empowerment is a key priority within the Feminist International Assistance Policy, and Oxfam Canada is pleased to share our latest policy report on this issue and how Canada can take the lead.

The current economic model is broken. While the top 1% accumulates extraordinary amounts of wealth, the poor are incapable of escaping poverty despite working long hours day in and day out. Around the world, women consistently earn less than men and are trapped in the lowest paid and least secure jobs, which rarely provide formal workplace protections or social security. They also experience multiple and intersecting disadvantages due to, for instance, their race, class or religion, and are especially vulnerable to gender-based violence at home and in the workplace. Fundamentally, gender inequality and economic inequality are inextricably linked.Feminists are calling for new economic models that work for everyone, not just the rich. Unless we tackle gender inequality and economic inequality simultaneously, women’s economic empowerment (WEE) will be impossible to realize. This means efforts to support WEE, through the programming of international assistance for example, must address the social norms, laws and economic policies, and structural barriers that restrict women’s choices and opportunities.This Oxfam Canada report makes the case for a feminist and intersectional approach to WEE. Drawing from the experience of Oxfam and its partners, the Government of Canada and other countries and donor agencies, it details practical examples of feminist support for WEE that can be replicated or scaled up and makes recommendations for how Canada can adopt transformative feminist programming and policies. This must start with focused attention on neglected areas of WEE, including economic rights and legal frameworks, labour rights and decent work, the care economy, and the links between gender-based violence and WEE.

Oxfam Canada

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